Route: Franconia Ridge Loop (clockwise) via the Old Bridle Path and Falling Waters
Team: Spungie, tMail, Wildman, g-$$$, Mutha
Conditions: No snowshoes needed. Snow depth below treeline on the packed trail was deep enough for crampons all day except bare-booting the descent. All trails well-packed out, some drifting on the ridge. Traction is necessary on the Lafayette ascent but Wildman and g-$$$ were in microspikes all day and never changed into their crampons.
Mutha's Trip Report: As part of our annual 'Spungie Day' celebration we took a more-or-less standard route for this event, although in part we were motivated by a forecast of low visibility in blowing snow and fog. Conditions turned out to be quite easy, although the flat, grey light made photography challenging.
One of the more startling facts: the snow on top was soft, dry powder everywhere, even in drifts. It was as if none of it had been subjected to high winds or other consolidating/transforming effects.
Wildman showed off his shoulder-mounted, water-proof video/still camera and Spungie brought an expedition pack filled with gear for a few nights (see pic above).
Unexpectedly caught up with a huge group of 20 (more or less) Koreans from Virginia. This was their second, annual, adventure up Lafayette. Their skill levels were mixed so they were spread out all over the mountain. One young woman seemed to have the motivation to break some record to the summit. Weird times ahead.
Great day, great conditions, great group.
g-$$$'s Trip Report: Upon further reflection, discussion with Lisa and EZ-E, and the sheer realization that I descend like shit (or is it my shit descends) and I have been displaced by Dumi Sok Mi as the token Asian. I am hereby hanging up my crampons and going to embark on a new business initiative, Kitchen Remodeling...as it appears that is the only skill I have competence in at the moment. I will be bringing my gear to the Bad Boy and auctioning off my slightly used/almost brand new stuff to anybody with cash, paypal account, and/or coffee rolls.
Thanks for your years of support, friendship, and trailside camaraderie...
With that note I thank all who participated in Spungie Day 2012.
After PM's scolding about how he didn't want to be bothered by a message while in Chicago that 6 dudes got lost in NH....and for the record it would have been ONLY 5.....we opted to stay off the Castles and hit the standard fallback, Franconia Ridge Trail....FRT is never boring in the winter.
Notable points of the day:
The two fittest guys carrying the smallest packs......
F'in Koreans only have one speed..just fast enough to slow me down and piss me off....
Spungie knows his weather...for at least a couple of hours
Two newest pieces of gear....my GPS and Wildman's GoPro camera....neither of know how to use them....
Dumi Sok Mi is one beast of a climber
Proposed nickname for K4/Brian...Northern Belle
By summertime we are all buying Harleys and will have license plates to match SPNGY and BRO
The Spungie/Wildman renenactment of famous historical proposals was deeply touching and it certainly was not the wind strewn snow crystals pelting my face that were causing me to tear up
I descend like shit, ascend like shit, and eat like shit ergo i am full of shit.
K4 or Winter Presi Traverse....it's all good!
Chicago Basin...book it.
Woodstock Inn....great eats before the Loon crowds arrive
Highlight of the trip...not spending a cent in Lincoln!
Happy Spungie Day! Good times.
tMail's Trip Report (pics here):I believe this was the 4th Spungie Day off of which have been held on Franconia Ridge, weather usually dictates as does snow conditions. What we thought would be a little bit of a beat down with wind and visibility turned out to be a calm day.
We did the climb in the counterclockwise conditions was the wind was coming out of the Northwest, if you can call it wind, but enough to warrant a facemask and goggles for some. The trail conditions are in good shape there is a good base and I would imagine where there is a good base on other trails and lots of traffic the conditions are the same. There is not a lot of snow, but what is there will pack and freeze nicely in the coming weeks.
We had a great run in with the Korean team and there desire to latch on to whoever is around to keep up and route find. DOO MI BOO TE was hot on Spungie’s heals for the ascent to Lafayette. She was determine to summit with our team. Once arriving on the summit she laid down on the ground, it was impressive.
The hike along the ridge had visibility of .5 – 1 mile at times. The snow on the ridge does not appear to be windblown as there are clear billows of low density snow in pockets which is unusual. This matches the Avalanche forecast comments of powder like snow, that is just sitting on steep stuff waiting for a heavy load or rain to make natural avalanches occur.
Be interesting to see the video that Wildman recorded. Picture from Mutha, Spungie and myself are pretty sweet.
Awesome day overall stuck together as a group and no child was left behind, separated on the descent off of Falling Water as the boot skiing, running was awesome. Mutha and I waited down near the water cascades and we all hiked out together from there.
Looking forward to low key weekend next week and a big Saturday shake down at The Louie Chinese New Years Party and then BAD BOY weekend!!!!!